Morton Arboretum! Cool Place!

Warning: This got super long! And there are tons of pics...hopefully you won't be bored!

So yesterday we met Patty and the boys to hang out for the afternoon at the Morton Arboretum. I cannot tell you how happy I am that Patty introduced me to that place. My kids loved it and Shawn would like to see it too, so we are heading back as a family soon and we are going to get an annual pass.

It is about an hour drive for us to get there, so I will happily admit to being really glad we purchased the kids Nintendo DS's before our trip. They saved us then, and they save me all the time in Chicago traffic. I can drive, try and not get lost, sit in a parking lot/Freeway forever and they never even notice.

We only had 3 hours to play and it was barely time to see the Children's garden. The kids didn't want to leave and we actually got chased out...(not literally)by a volunteer at the end of the day.

Here are the kids at the entrance. Kira just seemed to match the gardens in her bright summer attire. She is quite the little fashionista these days. ;)

We did a little shopping in the store there and I got some really great things to do some science experiments with. I'll post about those with pictures later this week when we get them done. I was really excited by my finds, and even picked up one extra thing for Collin to try too! (You know, because he needs to get presents in his mom's birthday package too!)

The first thing the kids found was this giant ball that spins in water. We stood there for quite a while letting them play. Then we headed off into the "Backyard" to explore!

These flowers were really cool, they were musical instruments and the kids loved them! You'll note that my kids were using their water bottles to make music...we never saw them again. Then not surprisingly, they were 'thiiiiiiiiiiiiiirsty!' and wanted my water. Of course.

This was a "race" the kids had to blow the propeller across the cable. Michael won and was really proud. Evan and Andrew were disappointed to learn it wasn't a jungle gym. And they sort of "cheated" a little bit. ;) Try not to notice that part. It's not the Olympics after all.

Then there was the giant Acorn thing to climb on! It was a little boring for the grown ups, but it did make a cool backdrop for pictures! I was a little concerned about Evan, but he did great, and only needed a hand to get down. The panic over heights occurred a bit later...

Next up was the water pump. Patty had warned me about the kids possibly getting wet. I thought this was what she was talking about...I was in store for a big surprise. I'll get to that in a minute.

So this is what Patty meant by "The kids might get wet". This is the frog pond. For wading and "looking for frogs". I'm certain that unless a frog is entirely suicidal he isn't within 10 miles of this "Frog Pond". My children didn't just get wet. No, they fell in, Kira cried, but I'm not sure why. She was mad that all I did was take pictures of her the moment I realized what happened. Patty joined in. We laughed and snapped photo's like any good parent would do. Then Evan fell in but didn't manage to stop himself before he face planted into the water. Oops!

Then just beyond the frog pond is a stream where the kids can move rocks around to their hearts content building dams. And hey, why not, they are already drenched from a visit to the frog pond anyway. On the way though was this gorgeous site:

And this funny just tickled this Arizona girl pink to see that warning! LOL!

Here are a couple of Kira and Michael in the stream.

Then the next spot was one that about gave me a heart attack. I'm sitting on a bench, letting the kids play on a giant playground structure when I hear that scream and cry that you just KNOW is your kid. Then you can't get your bearings and figure out where your kid is and how to get to them. I fought my way through a herd of kids to find my poor sweet Evan shaking and crying in a wooden tower. He couldn't move. Frozen in fear I had to climb up and get him, pry him away from the wall he had a grip on and carry him down. He kept crying and sobbing and shaking and finally said "I tried really hard, but that is too high and too scary and I was going to fall!".
Here is the culprit:

But, we all know Evan. What did that boy do? With a little help from Kira, he stopped crying and shaking (ok, I'm pretty sure he was still shaking) and crossed that damn thing. It took him a painfully long time, and Kira would stand with her hand on his back while other kids ran by, and just stayed with him, encouraging, loving and helping him along. I was beaming with mommy pride!

He did it. It was agonizing for me to watch but he was so proud. Then he just kept going until he could run across it without being afraid. He must have done it 6 or 7 times after that. If only I could face my fears that way. Can you imagine? He amazes me every time.

Doin' the happy dance at the end:

Getting a high five from his big sis:

Do I have cool kids or what?

I'm sure lucky! And I'm so glad we have this great opportunity to live here for the year to explore and see things we never would have seen otherwise!


Marlene said...

wow - what an awsome place! I'd love to go visit there. Thanks for the wonderful pictures. I am so proud of Kira for helping Evan like that. What a sweetheart. And way to go Evan! I am super proud of you. I wish I could be as brave. I guess I will just have to try hard next time I AM afraid of something. I'll just think of you and keep trying just like you do. Thanks for sharing Heidi. We love and miss you!

Heidi said...

I know mom, I think, if I had half the courage that boy has in his little I could accomplish great things you know?

I'm glad you liked the pics, I took so many it was hard to choose! It is so beautiful there and peaceful. There are also over 16 miles of hiking trails. I loved it!

Dawn said...

Love your photos from your trip! That looks like a place my DD would love to visit.